New Zealanders don’t have too many brick and mortar casino options. So many gaming enthusiasts look to online gambling platforms to get their gaming fix. The iGaming sector has exploded around the globe and there are hundreds of online casinos today that cater to players from New Zealand. From slots to lotto, there are loads of options. 

But what do the law books have to say about online gambling in New Zealand? Is it legal to gamble online? What forms of gambling are legal? Are there certain casinos which are approved by the state? Which casinos are safe? 

We answer these and more right here. 

Is it legal to gamble online in New Zealand? 

The Gambling Act of 2003 lays out the majority of the rules and legislation governing online gambling in New Zealand.

While it does not outright forbid internet gambling, the rules are rather rigorous for companies operating in the nation. As a result, there aren't many New Zealand-based internet gambling sites for you to choose from as a New Zealander.

What about off-shore online casinos?

The laws of New Zealand are only applicable to gambling service providers based in New Zealand. So, what about the hundreds of online casinos based overseas that accepts players located in New Zealand? Is it legal to gambling at such sites? 

Well, since these casinos are hosted from outside the jurisdiction of New Zealand, the NZ online gambling laws cannot be imposed on these companies. Therefore, it is not technically illegal to sign up and play at offshore online casinos. With that said, when you play at an offshore online casino, you are doing so at your own risk. 

Just because offshore casinos aren’t outlawed, it does not mean they are always safe. New Zealanders are flocking to casino review guides such as NZCasinoClub.com with the view that they will be safer playing at recommended online casinos. This is not always the case. 

For a safe gambling experience with an offshore online casino, you must always ensure the casino is licensed by a reputed gambling regulatory body and you should also check the reputation of the brand and read through reviews of what kind of experiences other players have had with these casinos. Only sign up and invest in a casino that you trust, if you’re going to play at an offshore online casino for real money. 

What type of online gambling games are allowed at NZ State approved online gambling sites? 

If you would rather stick to the limited number of New Zealand based online gambling websites rather than playing at offshore online casinos, you might also be restricted in terms of which games you can play and also how much money you can play for. Let’s take a look at what the law has to say. 

Separate gaming activities were divided into four different categories or groups for the purposes of iGaming regulation in New Zealand. An operator must abide by a specific set of guidelines for each of these activities, which also includes responsible gambling

  • Class 1 Games and Laws: Class 1 rules apply to games where there is no commission-sharing between the owner of the gambling site and the player. Only an authorized agent of the gambling operator is permitted to give or accept payment from players, according to the legislation. In such cases, the winning prize should not be more than US$500. Such providers don’t need an explicit license, but must operate within the regulatory framework.
  • Class 2 Games and Laws: Class 2 gambling activities also include no commission games, in which the player neither receives nor reimburses the operator for any commission. The operator shouldn't even give the player a commission. Among the laws that apply to this category of activity are- Class 2 providers are also not required to be explicitly licensed. However, they must not offer prizes that are worth over US$5000 and the turnover for such operations is limited to US$25,000.
  • Class 3 Games and Laws: Class 3 activities are commissioned, and the Department of Internal Affairs is in charge of overseeing them. The action is only permitted after the department determines that it is financially feasible and there is a good reason for raising money this way. Lotteries and Housie are examples of games that fall under this type. Winning prizes should not be over US$5000 and such providers must be licensed. These providers are not allowed to use any machines during the game sessions. 
  • Class 4 Games and Laws: Online casino games fall under class 4 gambling activities. Only games in this category are permitted to use machines during gaming sessions. Slot machines, computerized roulette and poker tables, video poker machines, and other devices are employed in class 3 activities. Hosting such events without the appropriate authorization from governing organizations is prohibited. The earnings ought to be invested in enhancing societal welfare. The operator must have a valid reason for using class 4 activities to raise the funds. Only corporate companies in the gaming sector may run such operations and provide casino gaming services to NZ players. 

With all these restrictions, it’s no wonder there aren’t too many NZ based online casinos on the web. However, there are lots of high-quality offshore online casinos that welcome NZ players, you just need to choose licensed, safe and reputed casinos for a great gaming experience. 

Disclaimer: Play responsibly. Players must be over 18. For help visit https://www.gamcare.org.uk.

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